Ark Anglers

Abe Gaspar

Abe hails from Fort Lauderdale, FL but has spent the last twenty years fly fishing the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers. While the Arkansas is where he does most of his guiding (wade trips), his areas of specialization include large browns and rainbows on the South Platte, big rainbows on Spinney and Antero Reservoirs, and carp fishing on Elevenmile Reservoir. Abe winters in Florida where he pursues Peacock and Largemouth Bass in the Everglades and works the Bass Pro Shop in Dania.

Bill Dobson

Bill knows that flyfishing has changed his life for the better, and he loves sharing the Arkansas River and her trout. Bill moved with his family to the valley over 20 years ago and immediately knew that if he started flyfishing, it would be all he wanted to do. He bought his first rod in 1995, and life hasn't been the same since. His passion brings him to the river almost daily (even in the winter!), and he can be found somewhere between Leadville and Canon City on those days. Bill began guiding for Arkanglers in '98. He's a Rotary Club Past-President, enjoys trail running and mountain biking, and spends time in the winter hosting at Monarch and studying the Telemark turn.

Billy Hicks

Billy Hicks has had a rod and reel in hand as long as he can remember.  As a child growing up in "Missoura", he spent countless hours spin and bait fishing the many farm ponds and muddy rivers that cover the northern part of the state.  He was introduced  to fly fishing many years ago by a great friend and honed his skills on the Animas and San Juan Rivers in the Four Corners area.  He now lives in Salida and works year round as a guide snowmobiling the backcountry in the winter and float fishing the rest of the year on the Arkansas.  When not bobbing down the river you will find him exploring the high lakes and "cricks" of this beautiful valley.

Braden Baker

Braden Baker's love of the mountains and cold, clear water led him from the finance world in Dallas to Colorado.  Most days you'll find him managing the ArkAnglers shop in Buena Vista or Salida, otherwise he's hiking into Brown's Canyon with a 5 weight and a Chernobyl Ant or trekking to one of the valley's high lakes.  

Chuck Prather

Chuck Prather has been guiding wade trips in Colorado for over twenty years. While his regular haunts are on the northern front range, he guides with ArkAnglers regularly and is a valued part of our team. His emphasis on teaching makes him a frequently requested guide. Visit Chuck at

Dan Stockton

Dan Stockton “grew up” surfing Santa Monica and Malibu, succumbed eventually to his entrepreneurial urges, and ended up in Buena Vista about 15 years ago. A committed angler and guide, he has worked with ArkAnglers for seven years and has developed a loyal following. He also teaches our introductory clinics at several area guest ranches. Fishing poses family challenges for many of us; Dan’s personal issue is that his daughter lives in Bozeman. Rather than choosing between family and fishing, he has to choose between rivers – tough duty! An unrelenting optimist, Dan concurs with Lord Tweedsmuir in his characterization of fly-fishing as “a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

Daniel Haan

Daniel Is a native to Colorado, having grown up along the Front Range. He spent the majority of his childhood playing baseball and fishing the Big Thompson, Poudre, and the many small creeks and lakes of the alpine zone in the Rocky Mountains. Being temporarily displaced in Iowa for a couple of years, he learned to cast big bugs for pike and bass, although his heart always truly remained in the mountain rivers of Colorado.  Once he returned from Iowa, Daniel pursued professional fly fishing through school at Colorado Mountain College, as well as experiential learning on his own and hasn’t looked back since.

Greg Felt

Greg's goal is to be the worst guide at ArkAnglers. "As guide service manager, if I can inspire these guys to outdo me on a daily basis, both our customers and the company will benefit." Greg has guided float-fishing and whitewater on the Arkansas since 1985. "The end is not in sight," says Greg. "I've spent my best years doing this and, at this point, I am untrainable for any other occupation." Join him on the river, or at one of the many seminars he gives over the winter.

Hayden Mellsop

Hayden is a transplanted New Zealander, who first came to the Salida area in 1990. He has guided extensively both in Colorado and the rivers of the central North Island of New Zealand, and has been with ArkAnglers since our founding in 1999.
In addition to guiding for ArkAnglers, Hayden is a realtor with Pinon Real Estate Group ( ), specializing in recreational and investment properties. A strong conservationist, he is current board president of the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas. He writes articles and posts videos on his own blog, and writes a regular column for High Country Angler magazine. He lives in Salida, is married to Kym and is the proud father of two daughters.

Jera "Pink" Vinton

A native Vermonta', and lifelong fisherman, Jera("Pink"), moved to the Salida area in '86, and after running whitewater for 14+ years, he "evolved" into one of the original ArkAnglers float guides. After spending the past 6 years living out East and chasing lunkers, from Maine stripers to New York steelhead, he has returned and is fullfilling his dream by living on the banks of the Arkansas, where beautiful fish are mere spitting distance from his backdoor. Though his specialty is float trips, he also has extensive experience hiking for high mountain cutthroats and stalking lakes for "beastly" carp.
Pink enjoys many outdoor activities, including ski patrolling in the winter, but ultimately, "fishing is what truly floats my boat". His stories can be found on his web page, "Blue Balls Diaries", on

Kevin "Caveman" Potter

Caveman Potter has worked the Arkansas in a whitewater and fishing capacity since 1986, transitioning to full-time fly-fishing guiding in 2003. He winters in Isle Morada, Florida, where he guides saltwater trips, and summers in the Salida area, float fish guiding through the summer and fall. The river life has been good to Cave. In a recent interview, when asked what he likes most about guiding on the Arkansas, his response was both expansive and concise: "Yes," he said.

Larry Friedrichs

A native Coloradoan with 50 years chasing trout, Larry is not content to let a day pass without making it memorable - both for him and his guests. Seventeen years guiding multi-day trips through the Grand Canyon made him a rock-solid boater and an organized and efficient guide. Now he brings that experience to bear on our regional fisheries, guiding float and wade trips on the river and power boat trips on area reservoirs. When not guiding, hunting or horseback riding, Larry is out on the water doing research or working on new fly patterns. Facebook him at 'Larry Friedrichs' or visit him at

Mark Hanks

Mark grew up in New England where when not concentrating on his business and innovation pursuits, he was fly fishing and exploring many of its northern rivers, streams and ponds over a period of 40+ years.  Now a resident of Colorado, Mark is living his dream through his work with Ark Anglers in the spring, summer and fall as a “walk and wade” guide and during the winter with Breckenridge as a ski instructor.  Mark is a dedicated life-long learner and thoroughly enjoys collaborating with his fellow guides and colleagues sharing techniques, fishing locations, fly patterns and successful overall experiences for our guests. 

Mark Richardson

Mark is a Buena Vista native who winters in the Keys and summers on the home water. A licensed captain, he spends November-March chasing sailfish, tarpon and bonefish. April through October finds him working the Arkansas, where he excels at float-fish guiding. For Mark, the Arkansas is a great teaching river. Many of his fondest memories derive from helping anglers land their first fish on a fly. "The challenge of teaching and then watching it all come together as the day goes on is truly rewarding to me."

Preston Larimer

Preston first picked up a fly rod in 1978, and has fished ever since. Experienced both in freshwater and tropical salt water, he is also skilled in fly tying. He is professionally trained as a Wildlife Biologist, and has taught natural resources, environmental education and biology on both the college and high school level.  He is also a skilled naturalist and birder. After learning fly fishing on eastern and Midwestern trout and steelhead streams, he guided for 12 years in the Missouri Ozarks and the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming.  He has fished the Arkansas Headwaters for the past 20 years, and he and his wife moved to the valley in 2008 to start Rock Run Gallery in Buena Vista ( 

Rachel Kohler

Rachel grew up fishing California lakes, though truth be known, it was often with bait she didn’t want to touch.  Thankfully, she was introduced to the fly rod on a backcountry trip in Colorado, and she never looked back.   Willing to find any excuse to be on the river, it was only a matter of time before she decided to take to the oars.  She learned  to row right here with us on The Arkansas River.  Rachel enjoys guiding from the banks or her boat.  “This river, all rivers really, are magic places. Fishing and guiding  are the  best ways I know to really be a part of these places and share that.” 

Rob Whitman

Rob began flyfishing almost twenty five years ago and began tying his own flies shortly thereafter. Over the years he has become very interested in aquatic entomology and this has greatly benefitted his fly tying. With Arkanglers since 2005, he really looks forward to meeting new people and assisting them in maximizing their enjoyment and effectiveness as anglers. He has fished all the western states but California. However, he finds it very tough to leave the Arkansas these days to fish any other water - "We have a great fishery which only seems to get better with each year."

Rod Patch

Rod has lived in three places thus far in life, Carbondale Colorado, Dutch John Utah, and Salida Colorado, or the Roaring Fork, the Green, and the Arkansas.  Flyfishing has been a part of his life since he was 8.  Turning a passion into a profession is always risky but despite all the pitfalls Rod's passion is still elk hunting....and flyfishing.  Most of his time on the water these days are with his two daughters Madie-Mae and Raley.  Instilling in them the life lessons that can be learned float fishing a river.

Stuart C. Andrews

A resident of the state since 1960, Stuart has been a flyfisher since 13 and a guide for ArkAnglers since 2004. During a fishing/guiding journey of 42 years that has included the Arkansas, Fryingpan, Roaring Fork, South Platte, Poudre, Big Thompson, and San Miguel Rivers, there has always been one constant, the high lakes of Colorado. Many summer days you can find him someplace above timberline leading guests to pristine waters holding cutthroat trout or doing "research" to ensure their success. When not on the water, Stuart can usually be found in his studio, paintbrush in hand. His internationally recognized artwork can be viewed at or in our shops after your fishing adventure.

Thad Putnam

Thad, originally from Texas, has been here in the valley for the last 10 years, guiding whitewater trips and float fishing trips. He has been fishing most of his life, starting out in salt water. He started flyfishing 30 years ago with his father-in-law who also wrote the book on flyfishing in Texas. He has fished many places out west, but loves the Arkansas Valley. "The best part of flyfishing is that you are almost always in a beautiful place."